So holidays were not over by then and I was still in Biarritz with the Leica M6 and a couple of Summicrons (35 and 50) when I loaded my second roll of Cinestill XX ( purchased in Aperture UK shop in London).
I think I changed the roll around the market, so some pictures of this place can be found on my previous post.
Markets are different that in Asia a Singaporean friend told me, Same same but different I reply. Goods, people, food, money,… all the same.
I found this set a bit flat to my taste, although the light was great that day, and it was still reasonably early.
I made the mistake not to ask the lab to scan in high res, so this format is the one at which I got my negs. I will have to rescan them but probably not immediately. I think the low res scan adds to the grain, but maybe I am wrong.
Biarritz has a market and also a seaside famous for surfing.
A bit more than a month back I bought two rolls of Cinestill XX in the Aperture UK shop in London. I have read about this film, but its the first time I saw some available for purchase, so I picked two rolls to see what it is like, keeping in mind that I will have a road trip in France a few weeks down the line.
I loaded the first roll soon after and started shooting in London over a couple of very sunny week-ends we had in late April.
The XX box claim to be a variable speed motion picture, but on a conservative move, I set the M6 speed dial to 200, and put a 50mm lens in front of it, most likely the Summicron v5 or the Summilux v2 with a yellow filer.
It is very difficult to tell which one I used from the pictures.
So a good first part of the roll was shot in London, the weather was nice and my brain clicked in shooting mode.
When holidays started, I spent a day in Paris, with not much shooting action, then drove to the Loire valley, where frankly I felt more compelled to use the digital M and 28 mm cron.
But here are three shots of the park of the Chenonceau castle.
At this point we drove to Bordeaux witch I never visited before and seems to be a good place for street photography, just enough people, and specific places.
Worth visiting for modern architecture buffs : the cité frugès built by Le Corbusier, one house is a museum and can be visited upon appointment.
The film was processed by my usual lab here in London : Analogue Films in Shoreditch, it seems they were not very familiar with the film at first. They managed to do their usual good job as processing and scanning.
The last part we moved to Biarritz in the Basque Country, capital of surfing in France.
I always found very odd to shoot sea side in black and white, but hey why not, my parents did this ages ago.
I found the XX a bit too grainy for my taste, maybe blame the processing, who knows? Lets see how the second roll turns out.
Oh yes, the cost. The film was 11£ a roll ( almost 13 Euros, 14 USD, 19 SGD), mmm I think I still have some HP5+ in my 100ft roll. And Analogue Films charge about 8£ for process and scan.
After leaving Paris, I travelled to my hometown of Cannes, famous for its festival, the beaches and its beautiful weather.
Cannes also boasts two main harbours, filled with oversized yachts but also with fishermen’s boats as in the two pictures above showing some traditional fishing boats called “pointus”.
The end of the bay on the east side is called la Pointe Croisette and hosts the casino named “Palm Beach”, whose name is sometime used to designate the area. The casino is under renovation, and for those with a culture in French cinema, the crane you see is located where the famous swimming pool of “Melodie en Sous Sol” was located.
Cannes is not just for stars : locals still play the “petanque”
And not all drive Rolls Royces.
A tiny Autobianchi can be found on the harbour (in excellent condition)
There was a lot of activity along the beach this year. Some relax, some have to work, thats life.
All shots with Leica M262 and 35mm Summicron Asph v2 or Elmar 50mmF3.5 ltm, what else do you need?
So that’s it after 14 years in Asia I am moving back to Europe, UK to be precise. I have now been 6 weeks on the old continent, and a first post is long overdue. While all my stuff is in transit, I have carried in my hand luggage the M6 and the M262 with 3 summicrons, the 28, 35 and 50.
I have finished my first roll of expired Fuji Across 100 and had it process at the first shot I could find for the whooping price of 16 GBP. I could hardly believe it, but I will be back to Cafenol soon so this is a one off. It seems however that prices of film are a bit higher that in Singapore.
Shooting in a new country is both exhilarating and inhibiting : I can see so many new things to capture but also I am a bit camera shy these days, and don’t really know how people will react to the camera. I have engaged a couple of photographers in the street and they assured me there was no problem with this, but I have to get into the mood.
Strange enough, I don’t see many people with cameras in the street and I am yet to meet a Leica shooter, but I am keeping my eyes open.
The shots were scanned by the shop (Snappy Snap), it seems they did an ok job at it.
I hope you’ll enjoy the reading, my second roll is nearly done and I start having a backlog of digital, so get ready for more posts. All shots Leia M6 + summicron 28 Asph v1
Passing my favorite photo shop the other day (Ruby Ye in Excelsior Plaza basement), I noticed a stack of an unknown (to me) boxes of film. I was told it is Kosmo Foto Mono. I heard of the brand before but never tried it. So I could not resist, parted from 14 SGD and walked home.
Next day was an unformal outing of the HUGS (Hasselblad User Group Singapore) and I brought both the Hassie (see last post) and the Leica M6 loaded with the said Kosmo Foto Mono and mounted with the 50mm Summilux v2 (My first ever Leica Lens). We met in Chinatown, to capture the Chinese New Year atmosphere.
That day was also the outing of the Urban Sketchers group, which gave us (me) plenty of pictures opportunity, I like shooting random strangers, but strangers in action is even better.
The Mono is a 100 ISO film, the weather that morning was quite ok for outdoor shots with normal speed and aperture. Except the below, inside the Chinatown complete, probably full open and 1/60 sec.
When I reached home after lunch the tricky question came : how do I process this film? Querying the Caffenol Facebook group I learned that this is some rebranded Kentmere 100, so I looked up processing time. But when I removed the label to take a nice scan of it for my collection I noticed the canister actually says Fomo.
Who to believe? Anyway checking the Massive Development Chart I noticed both the Kentmere 100 and the Foma 100 have the same development time for the same Caffenol formula. My vitamin C stock is a bit depleted but I still could find enough to process one roll with the following formula:
500 ml water. 27g Washing Soda, 8 g Vitamin C , 20g Netscafe classic
My room temperature here in Singapore is 28 Deg, so I scaled the time and processed for 6 minutes, with agitation the first 20 seconds then 3 inversions every minute. Using Ilford method to rinse, Ilford rapid fixer and dishwashing soap in the last rinse batch.
The negative is a bit over but the scams are looking good. There is a certain softness to them which is quite pleasant. 14$ is a bit expensive for a standard 100 ISO film, but I quite like the results so I may give it another try (oh yes maybe I have to finish by 100ft roll of Ilford Delta first, I probably have the equivalent of 12 rolls left in there)
Today’s roll of film has been perfectly ruined, the experience showing that I am not yet the master of Caffenol.
This was a roll of Fuji Across 100, shot with the Leica M6 and a mix of Summicron 50mm and then my “new” Elmar 50.
I processed the roll with my second batch of Caffenol which is now 4 weeks old, and my dodgy Fomapan fix expired for 5 years and used for the 9th roll. A recipie for disaster you call it. The only new variable on the batch of Caffenol was the addition of table salt to act as restrainer for higher ISO films, could this cause the problems seen here? It did not seem to improve the processing of the Ilford Delta 400, so I wont try it again.
I decided not to clean the negs in photoshop, but just to enjoy the artistic look after the usual adjustement. I have a mixed feeling, because the processing looks to be working quite well, the quality of the greys and finesse of the grain below is just great to my taste.
Finally the Elmar is working just fine, focusing and all seems good as you can check below. This is a great addition for my LTM kit, lets check the next roll.
Dont worry I have taken good resoltutions: I binned both the Caffnol and the Fixer and will shop for some new fixer this week. I also ordered some pure ascorbic acid to replace my lemon flavoured vitamine pills.
On this note I whish you a good week, happy shooting and maybe next week a good roll for a change?
The title of today’s post is a trap. It should be called Caffenol week 6, but it starts to be boring. Saturday I finished a roll of Ilford Delta 400, and processed it as soon as I was back home.
This is my second brew that I kept from last week. I have been careful today to limit the time of processing to 5 minutes at 28 degrees, plus 10 seconds for pouring out.
The negatives are still a bit thick but on the better side I would say. I also filtered my fixer before using it. As a result I have very few crap on the film.
Another innovation this week is that I cut the roll in two before processing to squeegee. Less chance to scratch by carrying dust over with my fingers, less residual water at the bottom of the film. Unfortunately I did not count he frames so I ended up with an odd number of strips.
The result : this is my best Caffenol film of these past 6 weeks. I must say it is the best film altogether and choosing a small number of shots from it was difficult.
But back to the processing, there was very little dust on the film, and I did only minimal spot cloning in light-room after processing. I also added 1 more minute to the fixing time, this is the 7th roll with the fixer (It should do 17), it cannot harm.
This is shot again with the Leica IIIc, but with the Summaron 35mmF3.5, which is quite a sharp lens. I measured the light with the handheld Sekonic L-308-s, and used my 35mm Leica finder. The finder shoe was bent during my last move and I think the shot above really shows it.
The first three shots were taken around Chinatown last week, while the next three where taken around Marina Bay, where I met some friends by complete fluke. Friends are great picture subjects, lets remember this.
Saturday morning I met some fellow shutterbugs in Haji Lane. The two frames above were shot in a kind of artsy enclave where a lot of murals can be found.
The area is far less crowed than usual, but its still a busy place in the morning, with deliveries for local businesses, people having coffee or photographers bringing models to shoot with the colorful area as a backdrop.
We hijacked the model above, thanks, thanks, one shot and we move, my camera is so old, anyway.
We have entered the 7th month of the Chinese new year and offerings are appearing outside maybe businesses.
This is not actually a full roll of the lock-down, I did not shoot much and probably on the first 20 frames of this roll.
This is a roll of Kodak Tri-x shot with the Leica M6 classic and the Summicron 35mm Asph vII.
The first part of the roll was taken on a Saturday around lunch time in the Balestier area. Shops were half closed, hawkers were deserted and the rare shoppers wearing masks.
Little traffic rare cyclist allowed not to ear masked while ridding, life seemed to have come to a halt under the scorching sun. We had dreadful weather for a while, but the day I go out at lunchtime with a 400 ISO film, I am forced to shoot at F1/500 and F16.
There is always a nice outcome : I stumbled across the coffee shop below, I first stopped to take a shot (the symmetry of the arrangement caught my eye), then the chord bring the entry puzzled me and finally I bought some coffee. I usually use some arabica in my old Moka machine but they sell only robusta. In the end for a bit more than 5SGD for 250 grams that was a ok deal.
Of course life is full of encounters, an sometime you meet fellow Leica Shooters
I am no sure that Grab food riders made a fortune during the lock-down (my good sense tells me otherwise), but they were ubiquitous during the period and thanks to them we managed to have entertaining food at our table. (Thanks guys and gals).
As no many activity goes on to finish the film I walked the places where people were going out to exercise or just take a bit of fresh air while respecting the prescribed social distancing procedures. It is funny how here again you meet some acquaintances.
The Singapore river was usually packed with joggers and cyclist, we will surely do great at next Olympics when they eventually happen. The Marina Bay Area, though not empty was really a lot quieter that it used to be.
Skaters did had much problems crossing big roads carelessly.
The last few shots where taken after the lock down when we entered what was known as phase 1 and now phase 2. More freedom to roam around, retail shops reopening, still as nothing exceptional is happening, back to my usual vice : random shots of people in the streets, preferably with masks.
Hope you enjoyed the roll. I manage 38 shots on this roll again, unfortunately the process suffers from reticulation (same as the one I took a couple of month back ), I ll tell about it to the photo shop and maybe i ll try to process the films myself going forward.
This year the STPI in Singapore had its open day during the Takashi Murakami exhibition “From Superflat to Bubblewrap“, this was the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
No need I think to introduce the iconic Japanese artist who uses manga like practice to depict modern Japan. I only had B&W film that day so I did not took many pictures of the art works.
Open days at the STPI (Former Singapore Tyler Print Institute) are always enjoyable, if you have young children they can discover and experiment various print practices, that also work it seems for teenagers and young adults alike.
For guys (or gals) with a camera, it is a nice opportunity to captures willing models engaged in not so common activities.
The STPI now positions itself as a gallery, aiming to promote the usage of print and paper mediums.
Artists shown in the gallery often have a collaboration with the print makers.
The smiling lady at the printing press has been working there for years, she is now an independent architect ; time flies.
All shots were done with the Leica M6 and Summicron 50mm on Kodak Tri X, at 400 ISO. genarally shot between F2 and F4 and 1/60s ro 1/12s. The film was processed by Ruby photo (or rather their usual contractor) and scanned at home on Epson v800 with Silverfast.
I generally convert the images to grey-scale and remove dust spots in Adobe Elements and adjust the contract and brightness in Lightroom.
The workshop can also be a treasure where odd objects can be found and pictured for eternity.
One of the DIY items of the week end was an STPI apron.
You can see picture of the last workshop I went to 4 years ago STPI at that time pictures were shot with Canon EOS 1N and 1.8 Canon lens.
I am cleaning a bit of my backlog, and found on my work-space some remaining pictures of our Taiwan trip back in Feb/March.
The only day we decided to take a tour with our friendly guide was also the only rainy day of the trip so it ends up being a no so great experience.
We took off from our hotel in Daan and headed to the North West, to visit what I believe is the Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden. A historical house and garden from a rich Taiwanese family.
This is a very nicely preserved house, a quite interesting visit, not a good as the Lin Family mansion in Banqiao district but still a nice thing to see.
We then drove down to see the change of the guard at the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine, but we arrived too late, and the rain started. Continuing further west we stopped in Beitou, a suburb of Taipei known for its hot springs
The place made its living through mining and hospitality, including bath and spas.
There is a very nice museum is an old bath house, including the beautiful pool below.
At this point we headed along the Tamsui River to the fisherman’s wharf for lunch. We did not find anything much exciting, had a sandwich and then a long walk, without rain, before finding our car again.
The last stop was Tamsui old street, that we reached after visiting the interesting Fort San Domingo, showing an interesting display of the colonial times. By then the weather started to be very.
We nevertheless spent a good hour walking along the Tamsui River and through the old street with a stop at the beautiful Longshan temple, above and below.
Finally, after a nice Taiwan beer in a dry place, we happily headed back to the city and our hotel ( probably the rain stopped along the way ).
All shots Leica M262, Summicron 28/50/35, it was another day where the weather was not enticing to pull out the M6 and play with two cameras.